• Stephanie Vonwiller

The global challenges related to education for girls

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In the course of digitalization and globalization, humans are facing enormous challenges that need to be solved. For a better and more sustainable future - for us, but also for the planet.

Equality, education and the fight against poverty are as much a part of this as climate and environmental goals. A total of 17 goals have been set, all of which are interlinked. The goal is to achieve them all by 2030.

The goals are:

  1. No Poverty

  2. Zero Hunger

  3. Good Health and well-Being

  4. Quality Education

  5. Gender Equality

  6. Clean Water and Sanitation

  7. Affordable and Clean Energy

  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

  10. Reduces Inequalities

  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

  12. Responsible Consumption and Production

  13. Climate Action

  14. Life Below Water

  15. Life on Land

  16. Peace, Justice and strong Institutions

  17. Partnerships


Which of these goals relate directly to the availability of education for girls?

Above all goals, 1-5 are directly linked to education. If girls and also women are allowed to complete a proper (school) education, this will inevitably lead to less hunger and poverty. This is mainly due to the possibility for women to do a decently paid job and also because they will not have so many children because of their knowledge. This can only alleviate these two problems, but a significant reduction alone would be a significant step forward. If hunger and poverty are reduced/abolished, the health situation automatically increases. In addition, better-educated women are better able to take care of their health and that of their children and families. These reduces cost and preserves manpower. Well-educated girls and women are more self-confident, can also take care of themselves and are much less dependent on their husbands. They can no longer be oppressed and commanded. In addition, gender equality, at best, no longer divides women and men, but only human.

What other goals could be influenced by whether we educate girls?

All 17 goals are influenced by it. Only when all people work together and stick together can these goals be achieved. This means that women must be well-educated so that they can contribute to all areas of the 17 goals.

Clean water or recycling (6+12), for example, are directly linked to women and the context of education—clean water, for health, and recycling for more sustainability and a clean environment.

Last but not least, people with education are more likely to raise their voices against injustice and lack of human rights.

Sustainability through more education for girls

Every improvement in the living and educational situation is gain for the entire society. Prof. Wu Qing, an activist from China, says, "If you teach women, you teach the whole families."

In order to achieve future co-determination in the area of leadership and development, also in the interest of women and girls, education is indispensable. The organization Aili Dada with its director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg from Kenya, is committed to this.

And it is true, as Lawrens Summers of the World Bank noted, that the question is no longer whether countries can afford not to educate girls, but whether they can afford not to.

What are the chances of success for the goals of the UN-SDGs?

Regarding the goals in general: An unbelievable number of people, organizations, and institutions are committed to ensuring that the 17 goals can be achieved. Unfortunately, this will not be possible - in only ten years, until 2030. This is not pessimism, but a realistic assessment of the time remaining, in relation to real problems, such as different cultures and religions, but also geographical and climatic conditions, as well as wars and natural disasters, which are delaying the achievement of the goals. I think it is important, however, that we do not slacken to achieve this. I hope that soon every person on earth will find his or her own goal from the 17 goals and help to implement it because this goal can only be achieved together - even if not by 2030.

Prof. Lynn Murphy is convinced that education has to go beyond the mere transfer of knowledge. But learning itself must also be given a globally equal quality. Third world countries in particular, but also Western countries, are light years away from this. This apparatus, which originates from the Prussian period of industrialization, is so deeply rooted worldwide that, despite all efforts, it will still take decades before the system has changed. But every small step helps, and above all, it helps girls and women to be better educated, even if a lot of patience is still needed until it will be taken for granted by everyone.